Friday, May 31, 2013

2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt!!!

Hello everyone and welcome to the 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt!
I am really looking forward to hosting this event.  Everyone is welcome to join - the more, the merrier! So, tell your friends.  Bookmark this page, and let's get started!
Rules and guidelines are at the end of this post, but it's really very simple.  The goal is to get you out exploring with your camera this summer.  You have until the last day of summer (September 21) to find and photograph the following items:
1.   Open air market
2.   Theater for performing arts (not a movie theater)
3.   City Hall, Capitol or other similar civic building
4.   Airplane
5.   A sunset
6.   Someone or something taking a nap
7.   A sign that is intentionally or unintentionally funny
8.   A tower
9.   A photo with someone or something that is clearly out of place or doesn't belong
10.  A bench that is outside
11.  An animal in a zoo, aquarium, nature preserve, etc.
12.  A cloud in the shape of something (please specify what you see)
13.  A fence
14.  A stained glass object or a mosaic
15.  A fire truck or police car
16.  A windmill 
17.  Candle(s)
18.  Your local pub/bar, coffee house or tea shop
19.  A fisherman
20. A dinosaur
21.  A photograph of you with an artistic tool or craft supply (you cannot substitute for this item)
Bonus/substitute items.  If you find any of the above items too difficult, feel free to substitute either (or both) of these items.  You can substitute up to two items, but you cannot substitute Item #21:
A person wearing an outfit (or item of clothing) that symbolizes your country
A sundial
And here are the guidelines/rules:
1.  Participants are encouraged to periodically post their finds on their blog. Try to add a "tag" or a"label" to each post, so that it is easy for readers to find all your scavenger hunt posts.  
2. If you plan to participate in the hunt, please leave me a comment with your blog address. I'll add you to my reader, so I can be sure to stop by and see any scavenger hunt posts you have.
3. Once a month, I will host a link-up party where people can check in and show off their finds!
4. You don't need a blog to participate!  Just find a photo hosting site, like flickr or shutter fly and put all your scavenger hunt photos in one album.  When we have the monthly check-ins, you can comment with a link to your photo album. 
5. On September 22, I will survey the participants and choose a winner, based on the number of items found.  If more than one person finds all the items, a random draw will determine the winner.  I will also draw a random winner from all the participants.  So, don't be discouraged if you don't find all of the items. Winners will receive a photography-related prize (either a photography book or entrance into an online photography class).  
6.  Remember the idea is not to search your photo files and find these items, but rather to take the photos between now and the end of summer. Also, let me know if there's something that's impossible for you (especially for my friends in the the southern hemisphere, where it is winter not summer), and I'll see what I can do to accommodate you. It's all about having fun and enjoying the hunt.
7.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Deb's Umbrella: Two Ways

My friend Deb of Paper Turtle has offered up a photograph and asked people to edit it anyway they would like.  You can see her original photo and read about her challenge here.  Since it's a sun umbrella where she and her husband sit to enjoy the end of the day, I chose a quote about the joys of the great outdoors. I did all my editing in picmonkey, a free site which offers all kinds of overlays and effects (it's kindof like photoshop elements for dummies). I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out . . . it feels like me.
But, I wanted to do another variation.  One for Deb, one which I thought she would like and which would fit her and her life.  So, here's version #2:
This was such a great challenge. It really helped me learn to use more of the features in picmonkey.  And it helped me think about how different creations might appeal to different people. I wonder which of these variations you prefer?
Other bloggers are playing along with this challenge, too. To check them out, click here to go to Deb's blog and see the linky.
p.s. The 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt is on! Check out the details at this post. **************************************************************************

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Happy Mail . . . in a little package

I participated in Sian's Big Swap of Little Things and received this fantastic package. Love all the birds and butterflies and postage especially. Thanks Jennie!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #21: Community Service

I am so proud of my girl. She needs to do community service for high school graduation, and she has chosen to work at the local animal shelter. It has taken her six months to get into the two orientation classes she needed to complete, and now she finally gets to actually start her volunteer hours. She is sooo good at "socializing" the dogs.  Each one loves her. She's also a trooper about cleaning up the dog's rooms (yes, that means scooping poop) and helping out in the laundry. Looking up at the exterior of the shelter and down at the floor of a dog's room, as part of Helena's photo meme, encouraging friends to look up and down 52 times in 2013.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Let's Chat Over Coffee

Abi of Creating Paper Dreams invites blog friends to sit and chat over a beverage once a month, and I'd love it if you'd join me for a cup of coffee.  We could sit down and I'd tell you that I had a busy long weekend. On Saturday I ran with Clara and then spent time going through volunteer orientation at the animal shelter with her. Yesterday, I spent the day creating my very first digital photo book with my vacation pictures from Ireland and today it's been all about getting ready for my upcoming trip to Southern California to visit family and run the half-marathon for which we have been training since February! 
I'd confess that I wish I could clone myself this week because, while I'm in So. Cal., Henry will be receiving a scholarship on Thursday night at "Local Scholarship Night" and will be going off to his senior prom on Saturday.  Sadly, I'll be missing both. 
If you were to ask me how I'm feeling these days, I would probably open up and tell you that I'm feeling optimistic. And that scares me. A lot. 
It's been such a long hard year, and though I've been hoping for the best, I haven't allowed myself to exhale and really believe that everything will be okay. Partly with Paul's illness, although I think I've made me peace with that because he is still in remission and the doctors feel very good about his progress.  
But more so with Clara. She's had such a tough, tough year, and there were times when I was not sure we were going to make it through.  
But right now, at this moment, she seems to be doing really well. 
She worked so hard the last few weeks of school to pass everything. She started lap-swimming every morning before school because she said it woke her up, got her to school on time and helped her concentrate. She says that Team in Training has made her a better person because she's been around good people and feels like she's making a difference. And now, she's beginning a summer of volunteering at the animal shelter and (hopefully) being an aide at swim lessons. She's making better choices about who to hang out with and what to do with them.  She's so much more thoughtful and grateful and pleasant to be around. I hope that my little girl has turned a corner and is becoming the person we both want her to be. 
Paul tells me not to get too excited or expect too much because there's still a long way to go before she finishes growing up. And that there will undoubtedly be more bumps in the road. And part of me knows he's right. I shouldn't get my hopes up too high.  Because it's so disappointing when things don't work out.
I'd sigh, and take a sip of coffee and ask you if you ever felt this way. Afraid to be optimistic and hopeful about the future because you've weathered such hard times in the past. 
And then I'd sit, quietly, and listen to your reply.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Let's Talk Pinterest, Pinning and Images from our Blogs

The other day, I was checking out some of the statistics for my blog, including "top traffic sources." I noted that "pinterest" had climbed to the number one referring site for the last week and month. It is still second to google for all time, but it is clearly on the rise as a referral for me. I joined pinterest to be able to see who or what was being pinned on pinterest from my blog. I have one post which was been pinned, A LOT.  It is this one:
It features a travel journal tutorial.  I can understand why it's popular, and I am happy to share it with others.  The idea for the tutorial actually came from Vicki Chrisman, and I made sure to ask her if I could share it and then credit her and her blog.
That was all well and good, but then I was a little taken aback when I saw that this photograph has been pinned and repinned a fair amount:
It's a beautiful photo of Henry and his girl friend before last year's prom. It's been pinned to boards about posing couples and ideas for prom pictures (you can read the full post here). I'm proud of the photo and a little pleased that people think it's pin-worthy, but yet . . . I don't know. It somehow feels a little intrusive to know that Henry and Vanessa are floating around in the pinterest world. While I don't mind having my art out there, it feels different to have pictures of my kids out there (even though this has been pinned more as art/ photography than as a picture of Henry, if you know what I mean).
Then, I started noticing a button that says "This is a no pin blog," like this one on some of the blogs I follow. I did a little more research and found that there is a bit of a controversy about people pinning images to pinterest without crediting them properly and the possibility of images being sold by others.  Bloggers have responded with ways to make sure that pins are done responsibly, ways to block all pinning, and ways to allow only selective pinning
I'm not sure where I come out on all this. I like the idea of pinterest bringing people to my blog, and I have always realized that anything I put on my blog is open to the public.  This doesn't worry me; I'm a public person with a public job, so I don't find putting things in the blogosphere too concerning. That's why I've never minded using our real names, real locations, etc. 
But somehow it bothers me. And I'm not sure why. 
I don't think people are taking my photography and using it without acknowledgment, which would be an issue for me.  I know that my blog friend Amy has had this problem recently and so has started using a watermark on her photographs (read her wonderful tutorial here). By the way, I found this really interesting post about how to see if your images are appearing elsewhere on the internet. I looked for a few of my photographs and found nothing, so I think I'm good there.  
I am really interested to read what others think about this issue.  Do you use pinterest? Have you had things of yours pinned?  Did you like it and want to encourage it? Or do you want to discourage it?  Have you ever had an image stolen? How did you find out and what did you do about it? As usual with a "Let's Talk" post, I'll leave this one up for a few days so people have a chance to weigh in on the issue. All opinions welcomed.  Let's talk about it!
"Let's Talk" is a semi-regular series designed to inspire frank discussion and sharing of information on issues relating to photography, art and blogging. 

Our first CSA Box

This year we signed up to participate in the Community Supported Agriculture program run by a local organic farm called Blue House Farm. Once a week through fall we will pick up a box of produce from a near-by drop off point. We got our first box yesterday, and here are the contents: lettuce, spinach, chard, snow peas, strawberries, zucchini, red spring onions and broccoli. Each box is about $20U.S. . . . not necessary a great "deal," but a fair price we think. Their website is beautiful, and they have a weekly newsletter with great recipes. I think we're having spring onion polenta for lunch!  The strawberries are long gone.
I'm wondering whether any of you have any similar programs and what your experience has been. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Messy Little Details: Seaside Sculpture

Every now and then I take a photo of something that catches my eye, even if I'm not sure what I plan to do with the photo.  Carolyn of Mess, Muddle and Fun has started a photo meme called "messy little details" to give photographers a chance to share these types of photos. You can find this week's entries or join in by clicking here.
I've taken the challenge in a slightly different direction and am using the meme as an opportunity to practice my photo editing skills, especially pairing these types of photos with quotes. I'm using picmonkey because it is so darn easy.  And free.  For today's photo, I started with an instagram shot, added a quote, then a polaroid frame and then some more text. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and I can see myself doing something similar with other photos.  Anyone else every played much with picmonkey? Any other recent finds you want to share?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #20: Hanging Out Around the House

Just an average day, hanging out in the living room.  Looking up at my work table; looking down at the animals laying in the sunshine. This latter photo makes it apparent that our pets seem a bit of a matched set.  Golds and browns dominate our color story. What about yours?
Look up//look down is a weekly photo meme started by Helena.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Glue it Tuesday with Happy Mail

Just a little art journal collage for Glue It Tuesday!  The quote reads "Photography is the art of observation . . . it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them."  I started the collage with bits from Happy Mail which I have received lately and added a few things from my stash.  Speaking of happy mail, a big thank you to Lizzie of Lizzie Made.  I received the pastel notebook seen in this post as a give-away prize.
I love collecting quotes to use in my art journal and in my collages.  My friend Deb of Paper Turtle runs a blog feature called "Just a Quote for Friday." She's running an interesting challenge in conjunction with that feature - providing a photo and asking readers to alter it and then link up at the end of the month.  If you want to play along, check it out here.
To check out other people playing in the Glue it Tuesday lounge, head on over to Artsyville.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Peek Inside My Life

Outside My Window...  I hear birds twittering peacefully and smell the damp soil of the just-watered garden next door.  The sun is shining brightly. With blue skies and a gentle breeze, it feels like early summer.
Around the house and garden... a few yellow crook neck squash are beginning to form, and there are lots of yellow flowers on the tomato plants. Clara wants to help me finish cleaning up the garage this summer so that we can get a ping pong table or pool table in there and turn it into a hang-out for her and her friends.  She also has big plans for redecorating Henry's room once he leaves for college and she moves into it.
I am thinking... about the trip Clara and I will be taking next week. We leave a week from Tuesday for Southern California. We'll visit relatives, go to Disneyland and check into our San Diego Hotel a couple of days before our race for some "girl time." I am looking forward to spending this special time with my girl.
I am thankful for... the "taper" portion of my training.  More stretching and fewer miles. Time to let my body absorb all the conditioning I've been doing,  avoid injury and get mentally ready for the big day (June 2).  Thursday is our last track work out and "send-off" where we will get our tickets and other documents.
From the kitchen... lots of salads these days; cherries and white peaches from the farmer's market this morning; hamburgers for dinner tonight.  Maybe I'll have a vodka negroni for cocktail time.
I am wearing ... jeans, my new San Francisco Giants t-shirt, a purple team-in-training wrist band and my "one little word" necklace.
I am hoping ...  Clara's last week of school goes smoothly. She gets out really early - three weeks before Henry. It's been such a long hard year for her. I hope it ends on a high note.
I am reading... the last of the exams which need grading. Then it's on to getting ready for the summer class I'm teaching. It starts right after we get back from our trip.
I am busy creating... the post to launch the 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt! 
It's coming June 1.  Will you be ready?
I am hearing.. The wind chimes on the back deck.  Henry snoring softly on the couch. It's a lazy Sunday afternoon, perfect for napping.
What's going on in your life right now?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Photographer's Eye

Vignette #17: Change is Inevitable 
I am heading out back to complete some errand - water the plants or relieve the dogs, probably. But I stop when I see this furry yellow fella.  It's the first caterpillar of the season. My photographer's eye tells me to stop. Capture the texture.  And the color, so vibrant against the African daisies in our front yard. Think about the metamorphosis which caterpillars signify. Change will come. It is inevitable. And so often . . . it is good.
My Photographer's Eye is a semi-regular series designed to feature my instagram photography and a brief accompanying narrative. You can see the other vignettes in this series by clicking on this link.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Searching for a Memory (Simply a Moment in May)

May 16, 2013, 2:15 p.m.
It's after noon on a weekday, but I'm still in my pajamas. Red flannel pajama pants with an out-of-season Christmas motif and an oversized yellow t-shirt. I'm sitting on our bed, surrounded by Henry's scrapbooks, hunting for a picture I know exists. It the photograph of his very first baseball team: t-ball at age four or five. 
I can see it in my mind . . . he's sitting on the dirt surrounded by friends. So tiny, so cute, so happy. I'm searching because last night at dinner, after their last baseball game (yes, they lost, so it was their last game), we began talking about how long these boys have been playing together.  And which combinations of these nine incredible High School seniors were on those first t-ball teams, all those All Star teams, the teams that went to Cooperstown, etc. I keep flipping through his albums, feeling frustrated in the dim light of our bedroom. It's a foggy, grey day outside.  The dogs are sleeping nearby.  Paul has gone off to get Clara from school.  I'm alone with my thoughts, drifting down memory lane.
I see soccer pictures, basketball pictures, baseball pictures, and in each of the photos, so many of the same faces over and over. There's Henry and Cole, Reese and Peter, dribbling down the basketball court or posing in front of the goal.  I get to the scrapbook with the High School photos and realize that obviously I passed the t-ball photo some time ago.  I pick up his preschool album again, flip it open and finally find the memory I've been searching for:
There's Henry, third from the left, dwarfed by his hat.  The boy on the far left, Austin, is the same boy who's standing just to Henry's right in the Senior photo which Becky gave me last night. The girl in the sunglasses on the far right in the t-ball photo is Chandra, still a good friend, though she now plays softball not baseball.  Looking through the albums I realize why the end of baseball means so much. Although these boys all played baseball and basketball and soccer together through middle school, once they reached High School, they dropped some sports and tended to specialize. Henry was the only one who continued with soccer. Peter took up football. Cole and Reese played a few years of basketball.  But, through all four years of High School, they all played baseball.  
Each spring, they reunited on the diamond with their friends - the same boys who they grew up with, with whom they learned to pitch and field; the same boys with whom they did science fair projects and school plays; the ones who were there for birthday celebrations and trips to prom.  
Through it all, there's been baseball.  Their constant. Their bond. 
And now it's over. 
But they'll always have their memories. 
And, as I heft the albums back onto the book shelves, I am grateful that I have the photos.
Simply a Moment is a monthly meme hosted by Alexa of Trimming the Sails.  To read other moments in May or to add your own, simply click here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Inspired to Make Cards

Last weekend, Jennifer hosted a really fun blog event called "Onward and Upwards," which included many fun challenges. The challenges close soon, so I wanted to post my last entry.  This was for a "Be Inspired" challenge which asked you to be inspired by any of the posts from the blog event.  I was inspired by this post about making cards.
My cards used some random patterned paper I had on my desk and some Elle Studio journaling blocks (which were probably meant to be used for Project Life). What I love about these cards is that I started with some fairly standard products but then made the finished project completely and totally my own by using unique images from my collection. These images are not well-known or widely seen because they come from my heritage photos, my own photography, and ephemera from my travels, which I have turned into collage sheets.  I think my design sensibility in these cards tracks some of Sian's, seen in cards such as these and Julie Kirk's Pludering Pages (such as this one), but these still very much "me."  For years I collected rubber stamps and made cards based mainly on rubber stamp images. Right now, though, I'm really loving this style of cut and paste card.  It's interesting to realize that my style is evolving. What about you? Have you noticed any changes in your card-making, painting, collaging or scrapbooking styles?
Edited to add: If you are interested in learning more about my collage sheets and how I make them, check out my post at this link.  Also, some time ago I posted a "recipe" or tutorial for using collage images in cards.  You can read that post by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On Being "Free as a Bird"

Last weekend, Jennifer hosted her "Onwards and Upwards Blog Event" which had many fun challenges.  One, called "Be as Free as a Bird" encouraged you to experiment on a project, doing something you normally wouldn't do because you worry it will spoil everything.  I decided to give the challenge a go and created some blank card bases using pretty paper, images from my collage sheets and some Elle Studio journaling blocks.  I created them, by matching colors and mood. The scary part was I didn't know how I would finish them and worried about whether I had any appropriate stamps to add.  Here's what the bases looked like:
I added "Happy Birthday" to make the one up top and really liked it. Here's how I finished the other two:
Maybe not as successful as the Birthday card, but I'd still feel good about sending these out.
Jennifer also said you could fulfill the challenge by making a project with a bird on it or by putting down embellishments without worrying too much about placement.  So, I made these two cards:
I like them both very much. They feel very "me." It was a lot of fun to create cards quickly and without stressing about whether they would be "perfect" or not. 
When was the last time you let yourself go creatively and be "free as a bird" without worrying about perfection? If it's been a while, I would highly recommend it!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #19: Play-off Time

My son's baseball team has qualified for the Central Coast Sectional Playoffs, and their first game is today, Wednesday, May 15. He's playing with a group of boys with whom he has played for over ten years -  Little League, All-Stars, travel ball; a couple trips to Cooperstown, New York. I don't think any of them will play in college, so this is really the last hurrah. It's a single elimination tournament, and I hope they win more than a few games. Good luck thoughts and wishes gratefully accepted!
For this week's look up//look down, I thought I'd feature a pair of photographs from their last regular season game. Looking up at the backstop; looking down at their bats.
Look Up//Look Down is a meme started by Helena of Helena's Creative Maven.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Feeling Up, Up, Up in the Glue it Tuesday Lounge

I love the Glue it Tuesday Lounge, hosted by Aimee of Artsyville, because it allows me to play with my large assortment of papers and collage elements in a stress free environment. This week, I made a pair of mini-collages inspired by the "Feeling Up, Up, Up" challenge at Jennifer's Onwards and Upwards Blog Event this past weekend.  They are both about letting go, being creative, being happy and living your life! Similar bases of paper scraps for both, layerd with an Elle Studio journaling block, collage images from my stash and some stamping.  These were such fun to make and make me really happy!
A shout-out to blog friends who have sent me some happy mail lately (click on the image to see an enlargement):
Suanne Brauer sent a prize package which included the journaling blocks, along with a little journal and other goodies; Melissa of Daily Life - Bits & Pieces sent me an RAK; and Jessica Sporn sent a wonderful water color blog prize with a fantastic quote from Henry Miller.  Thank you ladies for the happy mail!
If you like the look of these little collages, come back on Thursday when I'll have some cards also inspired by pairing the journaling blocks with my collage images. In the meantime, why not check out the Glue it Tuesday Lounge by clicking on this link.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hello Monday (and blog hop winners)!

Hello Monday . . . a meme started by Lisa Leonard
Hello Winners! . . . as part of Jennifer's Onwards and Upwards Blog Event, I participated in a blog hop and offered up a prize to the person who could guess the missing item in my running kit and set the tie-breaker question to guess the color of my new running shoes.  There were two correct guesses.  I need a very good running bra (which I decided not to photograph) and my new running shoes (pictured above) are orange (technically electric melon but when I asked my husband what color they were, he said orange).  So, congratulations to Annie C of Tag Tuesday (a very fun challenge blog) and to Jennifer, the blog hop hostess. Since there's only two of you, I'll send you both a prize. Email me at rinda 1961 (at) yahoo (dot) com with your snail mail address, and I'll drop a tag in the mail.
There were some other very good guesses - I don't run with music because I am paranoid about not hearing cars or stalker-killers sneaking up on me; I do have good running socks, but they were included on my list and in my first picture; I'd love to get a pedometer/high tech running watch but don't use one now; and I would dearly love to get some sunglasses (just haven't had time to get 'round to the optometrist).  Thanks to everyone who joined in!
Hello pedicure . . .  to celebrate out last long training run (we only do shorter runs between now and the June 2 race - we're in our "taper" phase of training), I got my toes painted a sparkly purple.
Hello sore muscles  . . . our last run was supposed to be 12 miles, but because my leg was bothering me, the coach wanted me to run 10 only. We compromised at 11. I'm happy to report some soreness, but much less than before. So, I'm also concluding that I only have a tight hamstring and (thankfully) not a torn one.
Hello awesome daughter . . . (that's her, second from the right with some of our TNT team mates).  She ran 12 miles in about 15 minutes less than it took me to run 11. If I were good at math, I could calculate something about our relative speeds, but it doesn't matter because she's committed to running the half-marathon with me, at my speed.
Hello awesome team mates . . .  those who are doing the full marathon ran 20 miles on Saturday. It was amazing to watch them cross the finish line, totally spent physically and emotionally; yet smiling through their tears and sweat. It's been such a great experience getting to know everyone involved with our team. Although we're a small team, we have raised about $50,000 total, which is enough to fund a researcher at Stanford University for a full year, at a fellowship rate. Couldn't be more proud!
Hello different morning routine . . .  Clara's rekindled her love affair with swimming and found out she can swim for free before school. So, she's been getting up early every day and getting a 40 minute work out in before school! Did I mention that I feel like she's finding her awesome, and that makes me so happy.
Hello Mother's Day . . . we had a fairly quiet day. Clara and I watched the movie Psycho. It was really good and strangely appropriate for Mother's Day (since it is all about a boy and his  mother after all) and then got our toe nails done. Henry and Clara washed my car and sat for photographs (which is all I really ask of them for Mother's Day). Clara also brought me flowers and left me a sweet note. 
Hello grading . . . I'm about half done. It really hasn't been that painful this year.
Hello volunteer training at the humane society . . . so that Clara can start working with the dogs there. We've been waiting for months to get a spot, and we're looking forward to it.
Hello end of regular season high school baseball . . . it was the Senior Game last Wednesday (doesn't Paul look good), and the boys played their last regular season game on Friday.  Luckily, it was a good season, so I can say . . .
Hello Baseball Playoffs . . . the boys qualified for CCS, and they will play their first game on Wednesday. It's a single elimination tournament and good luck wishes are definitely appreciated.
What are you saying hello to these days?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Trio of Messy Little Details

My blogfriend Carolyn of Mess, Muddle and Fun has started a weekly meme for friends to share photographs of details that catch their eye as they wander through life. This week, I have a trio of photos, all taken with my iphone. The first is of an old rusty gate. I love the way it draws my eye down a hidden path. I added a quote, which I found particularly appropriate. 
I have two other, odd photos which also call to me. 
I saw this old bolt lying in the dirt. There's something so organic about the dirt and the bolt; as if the metal ore is trying to return home.  I also love the sharpness of the focus.
And then there's this jar, sitting in our lemon tree, which a county horticulturist asked if he could place there. I have no idea what it's for, but it feels like it belongs on a shelf in an alchemist's shop.
Do any of these photos appeal to you? If so, I'd love to hear why. And to check out other photos, check out this post at Carolyn's blog.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Liberate Your Art Blog Hop

For the third year in a row, I participated in Kat Sloma's Liberate Your Art swap. The purpose is to take the leap to reproduce your artwork and then to share it with the world (in postcard form). Last year I sent out these two postcards (one mixed media; one photo) and received this wonderful assortment. This year, I went with photography and sent out the four post cards above.  In return, I received:
Red Barn #4 from John at artjuv.enation. His wonderful mixed media creation was a bit of a surprise because I sent him one of my post cards, and he spontaneously decided to reciprocate. Thanks John!
"A Picture is a poem without words" from Jill at Finger on the Shutter.
"A Little Flakely" from Granny Sharon
A wonder train crossing from Linda Sewallius. It had this wonderful Rumi quote, "Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love."
"Tillage" from Laura Lok of Stamp Mouse Photo. I loved her Daniel Webster quote, "When tillage begins, other arts follow. The Farmers, therefore, are the founders of the human civilization."
And last, but not least:
"Adorned and Alone" from Kat herself! She sends a postcard to everyone in the swap - can you believe it? You can click here to go to Kat's blog where she has a slide show featuring all the postcards received - 216 in total!
"Good Travels" from Christine in Germany.
I love participating in this swap and hope Kat continues it!  To see other swappers, click below:

Onward and Upwards Blog Hop!

"I try to avoid looking forward or backward and try to keep looking upward."
Welcome to my blog and my entry into Jennifer's Onward and Upwards Blog Hop! 
If you're following along on the hop, you probably came here from Jennifer's blog.  If you're not following along on the hop and just stopped by (but want to follow it), you might want to go to Jennifer's post here to start. And, you'll definitely want to read all the way through my post today to find out how to win Jennifer's big prize pack, as well as a small prize from me!
"Onward and Upwards!"  For me, those words are full of action and loaded with potential . . . the belief that you can accomplish something if you put your mind to it. 
As many of you know, I have been training with my teenage daughter to run a half-marathon on June 2.  We are doing this for so many different reasons - to get into shape; to spend quality time together and strengthen our relationship; to take back some of the control of our lives which my husband's cancer robbed from us; and to raise money to help find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma.  You can read more about why we are running and donate by clicking on this link. Our training is going along really well - we are accomplishing all our goals. And more! The more includes meeting terrific people and becoming part of a team, seeing Clara mature and come to value the importance of giving to others, and the feeling of accomplishment from realizing that I will be able to run 13 miles - something I wasn't sure I could ever do. 
For today's blog hop, I thought I would show you a little more about what I use to keep moving onward and upwards in my training and also give you a chance to win a little prize (the tag at the top of today's blog post; don't you love that Charlotte Bronte quote?). 
To win the tag, lets play a game of "What's Missing?"
In order to be a successful endurance runner, you need several things - a good pair of shoes and running socks (obviously), but also a few other things:
A good pair of running tights (to prevent chafing and wick away perspiration); a running shirt made of high-tech fabric that dries quickly but also keeps you warm (as an added bonus, mine lets everyone know that I'm running for a good cause); fuel for before the race (bonk breaker - fig bar flavor); fuel for during the race (grape flavored sports beans and blackberry flavored GU); and fuel for recovery (picky bars - all in almond flavor). 
And there's even more:
A visor to keep the sun (and rain) out of my eyes; sunscreen to keep from getting burned; "body glide" which I rub on various parts of my body to prevent chafing; and a water belt where I carry four bottles of water or Gatorade, plus my beans and Gu.
But there's still one essential thing missing from these pictures - can you guess what it is? If so, leave me a comment with your guess.  If more than one person guesses correctly, I have a tie-breaker question: what color are my new running shoes (purchased earlier this week)? Add that guess to your comment as well. If there's still a tie, I'll pick a random winner from those with the correct guess(es).  I'll pick the winner Sunday night, 9:30 p.m. California time and post it with my "Hello Monday" post.
There are other prizes to be claimed today on the Blog Hop, including this huge prize package  from Jennifer:
To win, simply go round the hop, commenting on all the blogs, and then leave Jennifer a comment letting her know that you have done so (Jennifer's give-away closes Monday, May 13 at 10:59 BST).  To continue the hop from here, click on this link to go see Meghann.
But not before you leave a comment guessing what's missing from my running kit and the color of my new running shoes. Onward and Upwards we go!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Photographer's Eye: Prayer Flags Over Montara

Vignette #16: Prayer Flags Over Montara
I have always loved prayer flags and have occasionally played with them in my art. Imagine my joy when I see this lovely strand while walking the back roads of Montara. They are slightly shredded from the wind which takes their intentions and sends them out into the world. My photographer's eye catches God's light shining through the trees, as if to signal approval of those who take time to pray.
My Photographer's Eye is a semi-regular series designed to feature my instagram photography and a brief accompanying narrative. You can see the other vignettes in this series by clicking on this link.
P.S. For those of you who do pray, I would appreciate it if you could say a prayer for Henry's club soccer coach who is experiencing some major health issues. His name is Franklyn.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #18: Lemons and Rhodies

I want to make it a priority this month to use my DSLR to take some photographs, so when I realized that the rhododendron was starting to bloom, I thought it would be a good subject for this week's look up//look down (hosted by Helena). I enjoyed a nice long photo shoot with this plant. I used my 50 mm fixed lens and often found myself needing to focus manually, which went surprisingly well. Looking up at a blossom and down at a bud.  The rhododendron blooms for a very short period of time, so I'm glad I was able to capture it.  And I like how the pair shows the beginning and end of the growth process.
While I was out back, I couldn't help but do another look up//look down because our meyer lemon tree was exploding.
Looking up at a fruit-laden branch and down at the ground under the tree to see what has fallen. I know it's still spring, but the lemons are so summer-y! 
I like how this meme is helping me document what's going on in my backyard. What's happening in yours this week?